In the last two weeks, Calgary Humane Society (CHS) peace officers have seized over 30 dogs from what it called "out-of-control" breeding operations in the city.
The dogs, primarily adolescents, were discovered in homes with poor living conditions for the animals, the society said in a statement on Monday.
It added that the investigations are ongoing and have the potential to culminate in charges under the province's Animal Protection Act.
"These recent files are a combination of accidental litters and exploitative breeding, both of which have consequences," said Brad Nichols, director of operations and enforcement with the humane society.
"Aside from the legal outcomes of seized pets, which you would hope would deter such irresponsible behaviour, there are more natural consequences of ruined residences and depleted finances."
Nichols noted the seizures have put extra strain on a system already at capacity, aggravated by an inflow of unwanted pets that were adopted during the pandemic.
"People are going back to work now, so we're seeing that animals are struggling with anxiety and that sometimes comes with destruction of property or other types of behaviour that owners aren't willing to put up with," said Nichols.
"We're also seeing owners that are out of a job for lengthy periods, can't afford medical care, can't afford to properly care for their animals in general."
Because of the saturated pet adoption market, Nichols said breeders will continue to struggle to find homes for their pets, which may further the cycle.
CHS said the most effective strategy for mitigating unwanted pets is to get them fixed.